Jia Yi Wang holds a one-shot lead entering the final round of the Annika Invitational Mission Hills after adding a 3-under-par 69 to her opening round of 72 at Mission Hills Golf Club in Shenzhen, China.
Together with her playing partner Tian Lv, Shanghai-born Wang has already secured the inaugural team prize for China. This “tournament within a tournament” was introduced for this year’s seventh edition of the event celebrate Annika’s ’s appointment as captain of Europe’s 2017 Solheim Cup team. With individual scores from the first two days counting toward the team prize, Wang and Lv narrowly edged the Chinese Taipei duo of Hsin Chiao Chang and Ho Yu An.
Not far behind Wang is last year’s champion Ho Yu An and yesterday’s leader Hui Ying Shi. Both finished the second round at 2-under-par, leaving them one shot back in a tie for second. All three of the leading players are from the Under 15 Division.
Following play on her namesake course, Annika treated the players and guests to a clinic and skills competition, where she shared some of her wisdom and playing experiences. Two lucky players were able to hit shots with Annika in front of the crowd. The 10-time major champion also attended a ceremony with the Mission Hills vice-chairman, Tenniel Chu, and officials from the Tang Xia government to celebrate a new partnership which will boost the presence of golf in local schools.
Later in the evening, a tournament dinner was hosted to welcome all ANNIKA Invitational competitors. Annika greeted everybody and all were treated to a talent show that featured different performances from the players including a dance solo and singing performances.
Tomorrow’s final round should be one for the books. An exemption into the 2018 ANNIKA Invitational USA up for grabs plus, for the first time this year, an invitation to the official qualifier for September’s LPGA New Zealand Women’s event.
Final-round tee times will begin at 8:00 a.m. on Friday off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees on the Annika Course at Mission Hills Golf Club and will be followed by the Awards Ceremony at 3:00 p.m. on the 18th green.
Leading scores: 141 – Wang Jia-Yi (CHN) 72 69; 142 – An Ho-Yu (TPE) 73 69, Shi Hui-Ying (CHN) 69 73; 144 – Huang Yu-Ping (TPE) 70 74; 145 – Tsai Wei-Chia (TPE) 74 71, Geraldine Wong (MAL) 74 71, Han Yu-Cen (CHN) 73 72.